If you’re a fan of Korean cuisine or just love exploring different types of noodles, you may have heard of the popular Korean sweet potato noodles known as japchae. These noodles have become a hit among healthy foodies looking for gluten-free alternatives to traditional wheat-based noodles.
But what you may not know is that my version of japchae was inspired by a dish from Nourish Kitchen, a now-closed restaurant located in the heart of New York City’s West Village. This cafe was a neighborhood staple, known for serving fresh, tasty, meticulously sourced food that was inherently good for you. Their long, marble service counter showcased breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with housemade pastries, fresh-pressed juices, and seasonal shrubs. They also had a tiny, but thoughtful, selection of natural wines and craft beers.
I loved Nourish Kitchen’s vibrant salads and vegetable dishes that would turn the heads of vegetable naysayers, as well as their wholesome grains studded with ingredients that would make you raise an eyebrow and then order a serving or two. They also had lean proteins like harissa roast chicken.
One of my favorite dishes at Nourish Kitchen was their take on japchae, which featured the classic sweet potato noodles tossed with seasonal dark leafy greens, roasted turnips or radishes, toasted black sesame seeds, and crispy lotus root chips. They topped it off with a warm sauce of ginger, garlic, tamari, and sesame oil that was simply irresistible.
With my love for Korean flavors and inspiration from Nourish Kitchen, I set out to create my own version of japchae that would satisfy my cravings and bring back memories of that delicious dish. Read on to discover my recipe and how you can make this flavorful and healthy dish in your own kitchen.
Korean Sweet Potato Noodles w/ Ginger + Garlic [Gluten-Free] (Serves 4-6)
- 8 oz. Korean sweet potato noodles
- 2 tbsp. tamari
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. chili flakes (or to taste)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp. coconut sugar
- 1 bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. avocado oil
- 4-6 oz. shrimp (optional)
- 1 green onion, sliced (white and green parts separated)
- Salt, to taste
Instructions for Korean Sweet Potato Noodles
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the sweet potato noodles.
- In a small jar, combine the tamari, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili flakes, minced garlic, grated ginger, and coconut sugar to make the marinade. Shake vigorously and set aside.
- Chop the Chinese broccoli, red pepper, and white onion.
- Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the vegetables for 7-10 minutes, until they are wilted and tender.
- Cook the sweet potato noodles in boiling water for about 13 minutes, or until they are soft but still have a firm texture.
- Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Strain the marinade over a sieve into a large bowl. Toss the noodles in the marinade.
- Add the discarded garlic and ginger to the skillet along with the white part of the green onion and sauté vegetables for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the noodles and toss to combine until everything is well coated. Add additional chili flakes if desired.
- Optional: sauté the shrimp in a pan for 4-6 minutes with a teaspoon of avocado oil and a dash of salt.
- Add the shrimp to the noodles and toss once more.
- Serve warm, garnished with the green part of the green onion. Enjoy!
Recovering fashion blogger and Founder of NYC-based creative consultancy, Hashtag Lifestyle.